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Humble Kiwis, extraordinary achievements

I recently attended the Kea Inspire 2015 event at AUT hosted by Kea- New Zealand’s global network connecting Kiwis here and overseas. The format of the talk is similar to Ted, except it was just over a few hours in the afternoon. Don’t be fooled though- there certainly wasn’t any shortage of inspiration for what Kiwis can achieve.


First and foremost, I appreciated the range of diversity presented in the panel in terms of ethnicity, age and industries. Six World-leading Kiwis from different walks of life shared their journeys from humble beginnings to where they are now, each with their unique ways of captivating the audience’s attention. Here I summarise the ones that stood out for me with a personal touch.


“Be 100% yourself, it’s really hard because society wants you to be a certain way.” – Audette Exel. This was one of the statements that stood out for me. Labelled by Forbes magazine as hero of philanthropists, Audette utilised her skills that she acquired during her corporate banking days and established Adara Group, a business for purpose instead of for profit to help alleviate poverty, improve healthcare and to reintegrate human trafficking victims. Along with her passion and hard work, Audette told the audience to ‘believe in your dreams and until you are truly yourself, you cannot be great’. For me personally, what amazes me is Audette’s relentless effort and intense focus to achieving what she believed was the right thing to do- helping the underprivileged by bringing a sense of purpose out of corporate businesses.  


“Who is your circle of excellence?’ – Beatrice Faumuina. Beatrice is a multiple-time winning sports champion, Sir Peter Blake Leader and the Inaugural CEO of Best Leadership Academy in 2010.  Beatrice is passionate about building the next generation of Pasifika leaders and her message for the audience is to surround yourself with people who build you up. My personal take on this one is that- yes, I agree. In an ideal world we’d like to hang out with the best people to build us up, but reality says otherwise. Until we have our own circle of excellence, we have to work with what we have in hand, because developing people to reach their full potential is one of the most important attributes of true leadership.


“Travel is a bonus, you can never fully appreciate the ‘here’ until you can compare it with the ‘over there’ “. Here I close my blog with a statement by Dr Ella Henry, an academic in Māori Development at AUT with multiple other roles in Television and Film actively promoting Māori entrepreneurship in the screen industry. As I will soon be embarking on my 2-year OE in the UK, I only hope one day to return to New Zealand with added skills to contribute to this amazing country and its people!